Without massive and urgent scale-up of humanitarian assistance in the coming weeks, it is likely that famine will hit some of the worst drought-affected areas in Somalia by mid-2017.
WFP requires USD 374 million in order to provide immediate relief assistance and lifesaving nutrition services to the most vulnerable people in drought affected areas for the next six months.
Somalia is now in a state of drought emergency, with the severity ranging from moderate to extreme. In a post-Deyr assessment report released in early February by the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit for Somalia (FSNAU) and the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET), severe drought, rising local cereal prices, continued access limitations and dry forecasts point to a rapidly deteriorating situation and possible famine in 2017. 2.9 million people are in IPC Phase 3 and 4 between February and June 2017. An additional 3.3 million people are classified as Stressed (IPC 2) bringing the total number of people facing acute food insecurity across Somalia to 6.2 million. This means that half of the Somali population is facing acute food insecurity.The levels of acute malnutrition in children under the age of five remain a concern. A total of 363,000 children aged 6-59 months are acutely malnourished, including 71,000 who are severely malnourished.
A joint assessment by humanitarian partners and local authorities on 18 January, 2017, found that 4,000 drought-affected people from parts of north Mudug region have migrated to new settlements in north Gaalkayo and are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. A similar inter-agency assessment conducted in December 2016, had estimated the people affected by severe drought in north Mudug to be 120,000.
To address the current food and nutrition insecurity, WFP is planning to provide immediate relief assistance through unconditional in-kind and cash-based transfers (e-vouchers and cash) to the most vulnerable people in in drought-affected areas of northern and south central Somalia for six months. In addition, WFP will provide life-saving curative and preventive nutrition services to children under 5, and pregnant and nursing mothers in the drought-affected areas.
To support the provision of emergency food assistance, WFP Somalia manages the United Nations Humanitarian Air Support (UNHAS) which facilitates the delivery of life-saving humanitarian assistance and the movement of aid workers to and within Somalia by providing critical and safe air services in Somalia. A dedicated cargo plane contracted through UNHAS is available in Mogadishu from early February 2017, to transport food to the drought affected areas in South Central Somalia that are inaccesible by road.
Due to the worsening drought situation, WFP has a critical window to respond to the growing needs to avert a crisis situation and possible famine. WFP needs urgent funding to be able to scale up lifesaving activities to prevent further deterioration.
Due to resource constraints, WFP has cancelled all food and voucher for assets programmes until new funding is available. WFP is prioritizing provision of emergency relief assistance and nutrition programmes for children under five and pregnant and nursing mothers in drought affected areas.